John Jasperse tells his truth … at REDCAT

Dance · Reviews

 New York choreographer John Jasperse’s engaging dance work with the coy name, “Truth, Revised Histories, Wishful Thinking, and Flat-out Lies,” confirms the obvious.

Which is … that of the many wonderful outposts for dance in Los Angeles, REDCAT is the most happening. Chances are high you’ll leave this venue satisfied, with a belly full of top-notch contemporary dance.

To translate into L.A. terms, a dance performance at REDCAT merits the drive downtown.

Highlights of the REDCAT dance season included the re-staging of Anna Halprin’s “Parades & Changes.” Dance maker Rosanna Gamson then kicked in more theatrical gorgeousness with her multimedia “Tov,” for which REDCAT was reconfigured into a long dark underground tank.

For Jasperse’s two-act evening — the first half couched in black, the second dazzlingly reversed-out in white (this itself a neat reversal of Swan Lake’s white-then-black color schema) — the open-sided box well accommodated his sexy, taunting and provocative quartet for two men and two women.

[The pink bathing beauty scenario shown in the photo is from the black act.]

Jasperse’s work rolls out at a pretty unhurried pace — it’s full of posing, slow-motion, freeze-frame, fade-ins-and-outs much like a challenging art film. It tours through the choreographer’s eclectic sensibility with audience-friendly touchstones like marvelous scenic and costume design, kooky cinematic scoring which is later trumped by live-on-stage chamber music, and the quartet’s great cut bodies pouring forth Made-in-New-York dance technique.

Viewers of all sexes will admire the languid voguing of Jasperse’s excellent women, Eleanor Hullihan and Erin Cornell, both fabulous lady dancers who pretty much carry the show.

Jasperse claims his dance is about truth, but he hides somewhat as an artist behind ironic distance — most blatantly when donning a black cat suit and cowl, and prowling the stage like a shady terrorist. Or, in its white version, with faces hidden beneath doily helmets that evoke lampshades. Is that his truth? But modern dance audiences, inured to obscure choreography, can power through it.

This fun, challenging, and smart-looking performance is recommended.

John Jasperse Company | REDCAT performance space @ Disney Hall | on through the weekend

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